As an Obgyn who was trained at Emory I worked in the rape clinic at Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta. I was 'on duty' for the month of August in my third year of training and saw 50 cases of sexual assault in that month. Most of those women had obviously been assaulted but only a small percent decided to pursue assault charges.
As someone who has suffered sexual assault myself (and has never spoken out) I think it is time to make space in our society for women to be heard, to be treated with the dignity they deserve, and for men to be brought to justice. As we heard eloquently from Dr. Ford this week, a traumatic experience imprints indelibly into the hippocampus (the part of your brain that records memories) and you never forget the person or the event. Recovery is a long process and your stress hormones and female hormones can be thrown off balance, causing all sorts of long term health issues.
For those of you over 40, you may be approaching menopause, going through it or well past it but your hormones still can help you feel better and look younger and healthier (also your brain to think more clearly and remember things). When your ovaries shut down or you have adrenal dysfunction and your estrogen, progesterone, DHEA and testosterone are non-existent or out of balance, it may be time to consult an integrative or Functional Medicine doctor.
As a Functional Medicine (certified through IFM) doctor, I use evidence-based medicine in a holistic way to help women regain hormone balance but also emotional and mental balance. The most common type of hormone imbalance in younger women is decline of progesterone (which can be due to increased stress and demand for cortisol) which can lead to irregular or heavy bleeding. In women who have stopped having cycles, I frequently see loss of libido, problems with lubrication or terrible pain when attempting intercourse. I use bioidentical (molecularly identical to the hormones we produce) replacement or supplemental hormones to help resolve these issues.
On top of enduring the hormonal roller coaster that we ride in our later years, women need to heal emotionally and mentally so they can fully live their best lives on a daily basis. Assault victims have fractured hearts and difficulty with intimacy and trust. Even after counseling, the work of becoming whole is an ongoing endeavor. I'm attending a free online 'Emotional Clearing' webinar series this week. I leave you with this exercise from the first lesson -
LETTING GO OF HURT:
Part 1. Write down your recollection of the event. Recall your feelings during and after the event. Write down any wisdom you would share with your younger self after the event.
Part 2. Write down the event from the perspective of the person who hurt you. Consider what their feelings and motives may have been and write those down.
Part 3. Become a reporter and write a description of the events as an observer reporting the facts only as one reporting for a newspaper.
Part 4. Perform a ritual that allows you to discard the emotional disturbances that go along with the memory by either shredding the papers, burning them, or otherwise destroying them. End with a short compassion meditation, extending compassion to yourself first, then to someone you love, then to a neutral person and finally - if possible - to the person who hurt you.